Serco to press on with evictions as legal proceedings ‘imminent’

A protest held against Secro’s lock change programme in Glasgow

Home Office housing provider Serco has denied that moves to change the locks at the accommodation of asylum seekers in Glasgow will trigger a humanitarian crisis.

In his response to a letter from Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken, Serco chief executive Rupert Soames OBE said the firm’s reported plans to make 300 people immediately homeless are “simply not true”.

Whilst a longer-term solution is put in place, Mr Soames maintains that over the next four weeks Serco will restrict the number of people to whom it gives lock-change notices and that none of these people will be families with children.

“As we told stakeholders last week, our intention was to give notice to no more than six single adult males this week and twelve next week,” he said.

Mr Soames added: “We are giving financial and welfare support to vulnerable people for many months, and in some cases more than a year, after their asylum claims have been refused. This is currently costing Serco over a million pounds a year.”

However the private outsourcing giant has admitted that the number it intends to make homeless will hit 330 – rather than a previous estimate of 250 to 300 – and that 100 of these people will have leave to remain in the UK.

The firm stated: “At the moment we are caring for, and providing free housing to, about 330 people who the Home Office have stopped supporting, but are continuing to stay on in their accommodation. This figure has doubled in the last 12 months.

“Of the 330 overstayers, about 230 have received negative decisions – ie been refused asylum – and 100 have been granted asylum; about 210 of the 330 people are singles, and the rest are in family groups.”

Last night Govan Law Centre confirmed that it will initiate legal proceedings imminently against Serco in the Court of Session on behalf of a Glasgow asylum seeker threatened with unlawful eviction.

Two of the Serco residents facing eviction began a hunger strike outside the Home Office in Glasgow yesterday. The Afghan refugees are protesting against the length of time it has taken to get their paperwork.

A further mass protest is planned to take place at Brand Street on Saturday at 11 am.

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